How Phoebe Philo Changed the Way Women Dressed

PARIS – The news broke late December 2017 that Phoebe Philo, creative director for 10 years at Céline, will be leaving the house. The fall 2018 collection, to be presented in March, will be the last collection crafted by the designer.

Céline doesn’t have a history of an iconic designer or much of an archive. It can be difficult for designers to step into someone else’s shoes. But for me, Céline was a clean slate.

The Modern Working Women

While swooning over the fashion world with her consistent collections, it was Phoebe’s own uniform that would incite inspiration. In what was seemingly counterintuitive in hindsight, a simple sweater-trouser combo worn with sneakers would be the next It uniform.

Furthermore, her affinity for minimalism was very apparent – she designed simple and uncomplicated pieces for Céline. It evoked power rather than femininity, independence as opposed to glamour. She made clothes that the modern working women actually wanted and could wear. Her role as a devoted mother and wife, a fact that she has expressed more than once, may have something to do with this.





I had my daughter, and with that came a deep sense of responsibility; my time for work had become precious, and it had to have more meaning.

Within only a few years, she had tripled profits at Céline and made “minimalism” the fashion statement of the decade. Oversized coats, lambskin knee boots and wide-leg trousers were on everyone’s wishlist.

Wearable Art

Aside from the Ready-to-Wear, Céline’s accessories and leather goods probably paid most of the rent. Phoebe Philo developed an accessories line that immediately established itself as the most inspiring of the time. The expert craftsmanship and impeccable quality mixed with contemporary designs meant that every handbag was a instant hit, even warranting a slew of copycats. We all know of them: Trio, Phantom, Trapeze, Luggage. Of course, they came in massive sizes with large openings because what working woman nowadays only carries her wallet and a lipstick?



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